Monday, May 26, 2014

Exodus: Chapter 23

Do your own doing

And bring them to me

Reflexive relationship

We take on each other

Send forth and return

Where is a name?

Carried within, on your lips and hands.

[For full chapter, click here
We continue the translation of Sinai. This time, it is “Thou shalt not carry the name of God in vain” (lo tisa shem…la-shav) and “Remember the Sabbath” that are brought down to earth. Lo tisa shem…la-shav is transformed into lo tisa shama shav-- “Do not bear false report,” the “name” (shem) becoming “rumour” (shema). This becomes a section on preserving justice, relating to the hated, and protecting the weak, from the animal up (the relationship to animal becomes a central leitword of this section). The name of God translated to justice on earth, with the Sabbath redefined from a day of holiness, consecrated to God, to a day that allows rest for the weak—from the animal, to the slave, to the alien: “six days thou shalt do thy work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest; that thine ox and thine ass may have rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.” Man’s “deeds” (maase) become central. It is they that are celebrated during the holidays, and what must ultimately be brought to God. The section closes chiatically with a return to the “name”: “Make no mention of the name of other gods, do not make it heard with your mouth.” The “name” burns within the angel that will lead Israel to “the place that I have prepared.” He will not “carry” (tisa) sin, “for my Name is within him.”] 

No comments:

Post a Comment